For the second year in a row, The Lebanese Medical Association for Sexual Health (LebMASH) is organizing an LGBT Health Week. 

This year's event takes place during the coming weekend and is held under the slogan, "A person not a diagnosis."

It features several key note speakers, health care professionals, and educators who are coming together to highlight the importance of improving healthcare for members of the LGBT community in Lebanon. 

The event is set to address the community's marginalization in Lebanon, in addition to covering both physical and mental health issues that affect its members.

Speaking to StepFeed, Dr. Omar Fattal, co-founder and executive board member of LebMASH, told us more about the aims of this year's event and its importance. 

"This event brings the health of LGBT people to the spotlight"

In his statement to StepFeed, Dr. Fattal highlighted the importance of hosting an LGBT health week in the country.

"This event brings the health of LGBT people to the spotlight and gives the issue attention that it’s been lacking," he said. 

"LGBT people are considered a marginalized group in society by many including the national mental health programme at the Lebanese ministry of health. This year, the LGBT health week and specifically the CME/CNE conference that will take place on Saturday March 17 is especially significant because it’s featuring high profile speakers such as professor Raymond Sayegh, the president of the Lebanese order of physicians, Dr. Nuhad Dumit the president of the Lebanese order of nursing and Dr. Aimee Karam the president of the Lebanese Psychological Association," he added. 

Dr. Fattal also told us that the event is endorsed by the Lebanese Psychiatric Society. 

Its organizers have also partnered with the National AIDS Program and several other NGOs, who will be holding a "discussion on Monday that will tackle the topic of HIV and the Lebanese law."

"Homosexuality should not be medicalized by trying to portray it as a mental, genetic, or hormonal disturbance"

When asked about the aims of this year's health week and the initiative behind it, Dr. Fattal said: 

"The aim of this LGBT health week is to promote LGBT health by offering educational activities to health care providers and students so they are better equipped to care for LGBT people."

"The event also aims to remind everyone that homosexuality is a social phenomenon and a normal variation on a human characteristic just like green eyes for example are a normal variation on eye color. Homosexuality should not be medicalized by trying to portray it as a mental, genetic, or hormonal disturbance," he added. 

To help spread the event's message further, the organization produced a short video titled "Nour's Eyes." 

The short spot, which is directed by Selim Mourad and produced by LebMASH, satirically points out the irony behind the discussions that often surround LGBT health in Lebanon. 

It tells the story of a mother who's distressed that her daughter Nour has green eyes. In a bid to discuss the "problem," she takes her to a Medical TV show where guests, including a family counselor and an ophthalmologist pontificate the matter, "while the young woman, who is absolutely healthy, drifts off and away from them."

The health week features several important events

This year's health week events begin on Saturday the 17th of March and run until Monday the 19th. 

They include workshops and talks targeting health professionals, students as well as a few others which are open to the public. 

For more information on event availability and registration procedures, visit LebMASH's website or Facebook page.